The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Victimisation
  • Mistreatment for asserting rights
  • Step 1: was there a protected act (or a belief that one had occurred or might occur)?
  • Step 2: has the victim been subjected to a detriment?
  • Step 3: was the victim subjected to a detriment because of the protected act?
  • Victimisation regarding discussions about pay
  • Defences and exceptions

Mistreatment for asserting rights

Individuals who speak up to assert their rights under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) run the potential risk that they will be treated badly in retaliation. Not protecting working individuals who assert those rights would potentially entirely undermine the protection they enjoy against discrimination.

For example:

  1. a woman suggests to her manager that he did not promote her because of her gender

  2. the manager responds by dismissing her

  3. he says that he did so not because of her gender, but rather because she had the impertinence to suggest that he had discriminated against her

His act is not direct discrimination. It is not indirect discrimination. It is, however, unlawful victimisation.

EqA 2010, s 27 states that a person victimises an individual if:

  1. he subjects that individual to a detriment

  2. he does so because:

    1. that individual performed a 'protected act', or

    2. he believes that that individual performed a protected act, or

    3. he believes that that individual may (at some point in time subsequent to the detriment being inflicted) do a protected act

In this context, the tribunal should:

  1. decide if the victim did perform a protected act (or the victimiser believed that he had done so or may do so) then

  2. decide whether the victim has been subjected to a detriment, then

  3. decide whether he was subjected to that